Dec 4, 2019

The rise of 50-point games in the NBA

Data: Basketball Reference; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

At the start of the decade, 50-point games in the NBA were a special occasion. Now, thanks to an offensive revolution sparked by the deep ball, they're a weekly occurrence.

The backdrop: During the 2009-10 season, only three players scored 50 points in a game: Brandon Jennings (55), Andre Miller (52) and Carmelo Anthony (50). The following season, there were only two: LeBron James (51) and Melo again (50).

  • In other words, over the course of two full seasons, the entire NBA managed only five 50-point games.

Fast-forward: In March 2019, the NBA managed seven. And this season, we've already seen another seven: James Harden (60, 59, 50); Damian Lillard (60); D'Angelo Russell (52), Giannis Antetokounmpo (50) and Kyrie Irving (50).

Last night: Harden dropped 50 in a bizarre double-OT loss to the Spurs that might have to be replayed due to a blown call.

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NBA ratings are down, but fans are still engaged

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Entering December, one of the most alarming NBA storylines is the league's declining TV ratings.

By the numbers: Through Nov. 22, games were averaging 1.45 million viewers across ESPN and TNT, down 18% from the same point last year (1.75 million).

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019

Luka Dončić breaks Michael Jordan's record

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Dončić just passed Michael Jordan for the most consecutive games since the NBA/ABA merger with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists (19). Reminder: He's 20 years old.

Why it matters: We appear to be watching the emergence of an all-time great, and Dončić's historic start could forever change how overseas players are viewed.

Go deeperArrowDec 9, 2019

Former NBA commissioner David Stern suffers brain hemorrhage

Former NBA commissioner David Stern. Photo: Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, 77, received emergency surgery Thursday after suffering from a "sudden brain hemorrhage," the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Stern led the NBA for 30 years and transformed the league into one of the most profitable sports operations in the world. Since leaving the NBA, Stern has been involved in efforts to use new technology, like virtual reality, to change fans' sports consumption.

Go deeper: NBA ratings are down, but fans are still engaged

Keep ReadingArrowDec 13, 2019